Step-by-step guide to beating The Last Autumn on hard difficulty and getting the Iron Man (Last Autumn) achievement.
Guide to Last Autumn Hard Mode
After many, many tries, I finally managed to beat this scenario on hard mode, so I thought I'd share a detailed guide to help others get that sweet, sweet achievement. This guide assumes you've already played this scenario and been able to beat it on normal or easy.
Frostpunk is all about managing resources, but this scenario more than any other is absolutely unforgiving when it comes to resource management. Everything is scarce - from trees to food to workers - and time is the most precious resource of all. I managed to complete the generator on Day 43 without going full evil overlord.
A few general principles and tips:
- Don't waste resources. Don't build on top of trees, don't spend resources on techs that aren't going to help you much, and use the resource-dependent levers (such as evening service in the chapel, which costs food, or the protective structures which cost structural profiles) sparingly.
- Do not miss deadlines. The game gives you one chance to miss a deadline without automatically failing, but in my experience, if you miss one of the deadlines you are not going to be able to catch up.
- Plan ahead. There are scripted events that happen, usually tied to generator construction progress. Know when one of these is coming up to make sure you've done whatever preparation is needed (like raising safety levels before an accident). Likewise, know how many construction resources you'll need for each stage and have as much lined up as possible before you need it. (See the section on generator construction math for details.).
A few specific thoughts:
- Don't even bother with the steam unloaders. It costs too much to research and build them. I beat the scenario with two upgraded docks being unloaded by gathering posts.
- Likewise, don't bother trying to deceive the French to get their steam cores. Especially if you aren't making steam unloaders, you'll find plenty of steam cores in the course of exploring. And later on in the scenario, you'll have more than enough logistical limit to order steam cores through the telegraph station.
- Don't get coal delivered by boat. Use that huge coal pile first. Then convert wood to coal using charcoal kilns.
- Getting resources delivered and getting resources collected are two different things. The water will freeze over and prevent you from getting any more boat deliveries, but you can keep gathering what's stacked up. If you have upgraded docks, that means each dock can have 600 steel or wood piled up when the shipments stop, leaving you a lot still to draw on for the final push.
- Similarly, think about your food sources. You can get food by exploring Frostland, or by fishing. Fishing is unlimited in terms of quantity, but limited in terms of time. (Once the water freezes, no more fish for you.) So rely on fish in the mid-game, and leave most of the scouting locations to provide food in the late game.
When referring to positions around the circle, imagine that the stockpile is 12 o'clock and the huge coal pile is around 5 o'clock.
- 07:00 - Pause the game. Choose "Public House" from the book of laws. Build a gathering post on the right side of the inner circle so it covers both wood piles and the steel pile at 2 o'clock. Assign workers to all the piles except that steel pile covered by the gathering post.
As soon as the gathering post is built, staff it. Once you have enough wood, build a workshop just beyond the stockpile. Follow that with two more workshops as the wood comes in. As soon as each workshop is completed, staff it with engineers and start researching sawmills. If you're quick, you should be able to get it around 50% researched by the end of the work day.
Keep in mind as you start building around the outer ring that you'll need to leave space for 2-3 gathering posts near each of the two center docks.
- 17:00 - Near the end of the work day, you should have enough wood to start a medical post. You're going to need it for the people who get sick overnight.
- 19:00 - Idle hands - Stop them
- 01:00 - Choose "House of Pleasure" as your second law.
- 05:00 - Promise your people you'll provide shelter for everyone. If you haven't already, unstaff one of the workshops and staff your medical post. Keep an eye on the number of sick - if everybody gets cured, you can move the engineers back to researching.
- 12:00 - Around noon your research should complete. Start researching docks. The steam cores should also deplete around this time, so you'll have some unemployed folks. You can start 2 or 3 tents.
- 18:00 - At the end of the work day, place 2 sawmills. Do not place any buildings where they'll destroy trees! You are going to need every twig. Put down a cookhouse as well, since your folks will start getting hungry and you don't want them breaking into the raw food. Then build however many tents you can afford. Here's my layout at the start of Day 3.
- 10:00 - Research on docks should finish between 10:00 and 11:00. Start researching foragers' quarters.
Now we need to make good on those promises we made. As the wood comes in, build however many tents you still need (I had 40 homeless at this point). Once again, make sure you don't destroy trees with your placement. I put a couple tents down near my sawmill at 5 o'clock because it was a clear area. You should have plenty of wood by the end of the day to build the pub as well, but start with the tents because the timer on that is going to run out first.
- 13:00 - For your next law, I recommend Radical Treatment. You don't actually need it right now, but it'll give you access to the other healthcare laws that you'll need soon enough.
- 20:00 - Everybody should have a bed by this point, and you can staff the pub to start getting lots of motivation. Build docks at one of the two inner locations, set the resource to steel and staff with 5 workers.
Days 4-12 (Generator Phase 1)
- 07:00 - I suggest picking "Chapel" as your next law, since you have a decent resource flow at the moment and it'll give you another motivation boost.
Keep an eye on your medical post, I only had 1 sick person at the start of the day, so you can start moving engineers back into the workshop.
- 09:00 - Research should finish around this time, start profiles manufacture next. Build a foragers' quarters (I put it down near the huge coal pile). Put a couple workers on the steel that's arriving at the docks, just so the game checks off that objective. You can remove them again in order to make a team of foragers. We don't actually need a ton of steel at this point, so it's fine to let it pile up. Send the foragers to the reindeer tracks.
- 10:00 When the prompt appears of workers talking, choose "Only fools doubt it!"
- 16:00 - Your next research is Drawing Boards.
- 17:00 - Start building the telegraph station; once it's complete, order 20 workers. (Don't forget to make more tents for them!)
Towards the end of the day, your gathering post should run out of resources, so dismantle that. I still had a bit of steel in the one remaining pile, so I staffed that up to 15 just to finish it off in the morning.
Overnight, start building the Profiles Manufacture, one gathering post in range of the dock, and a third sawmill. You can leave these all unstaffed for now. You can build a chapel now if you have the resources for it, but you still have plenty of time left on that objective.
- 02:00 - Choose "Care House" as your next law, and go ahead and build one, provided you have a spot that's clear of trees.
- 04:00 - As soon as the foragers arrive at their destination, send them on to the hunting grounds.
- 10:00 - The indignant engineer - side with him ("Certainly").
- 14:00 - When Drawing Boards research is complete, start on Forager carts.
- 16:00 - Set up a camp at the hunting grounds. Around this time, my last steel pile in the center was depleted, so I put 10 workers in the new sawmill and 10 in the gathering post by the docks.
- 21:00 - I signed "Evening Service" at this point, but if you haven't been signing new laws right away all along, I would hold off on signing anything, because we're going to need to sign a safety law soon.
- 23:00 - When your new workers arrive, assign them to the Profiles Manufacture. Order 5 more workers and 5 engineers. (I had to wait a couple of hours for my logistical limit to get up to 30.) Queue up 2-3 structural profiles for them to start working on in the morning.
- 11:30 - Promise to pass a law improving safety. I was on cooldown because I signed a law last night.
- 13:00 - Start researching Fishing Harbour.
- 14:00 - Censor the letter.
- 16:00 - I had 10 sick people at this point, so I built another medical post to cover me until I could sign overcrowding.
- 09:00 - Pass "Short Shifts". Queue up the remaining structural profiles you'll need for the generator shaft structure. Build a gathering post near the huge coal pile and staff it. I had 5 unemployed workers, and I took 2 from the cookhouse.
I wouldn't activate short shift yet. As long as your workplaces are at "unhealthy" (one !), it's probably fine. (UNLESS there's a specific reason it needs to be at "safe," mentioned below.)
Order another 10 workers.
- 12:00 - Start researching the ventilation plant.
- 14:00 - Once you have 8 profiles, turn off the manufacture and unstaff it. Assign those 20 workers to the shaft structure on short shift.
- 22:00 - Build a fishing harbour in one of the outer locations.
- 04:00 - Sign "Safety Procedures" and activate it for the generator shaft.
- 11:00 - I chose to research faster gathering at this point
- 14:00 - When you get the alert about the prostitutes spreading STIs, select "treat the ill"
I hit my storage limit for wood on Day 8. Rather than build a resource depot early on, you can just queue 4 structural profiles to get 100 wood out of the way, even if the manufacture is turned off.
- 22:00 - Sign "Work standardization." Start building a ventilation plant, but leave it turned off.
- 09:00 - Order 20 workers through the telegraph station. Start researching protective structures.
Start building another gathering post near the dock you already have, and build a second dock on the other inner dock location, also set the deliver steel. Cut your sawmills to half-staff and put the extra workers on the generator.
- 14:00 - Boudoir photography - confiscate the picture.
- 17:00 - Sign "Overcrowding." Around this time, the hunting grounds should run out. Send your foragers to the nesting place.
When the generator shaft progress gets to 25%, you'll get the notification that toxic gases have appeared. Turn the ventilation plant on as needed to keep the safety level at "Unhealthy."
When your new workers arrive, assign 10 of them to the fishing harbour you built earlier. Assign 5 to the new dock to start gathering steel, and the remaining 5 wherever you feel like they'll be most useful.
Start researching "Drafting Machines" when you have enough steel.
- 11:00 - Sign "After-hours equipment maintenance"
If your foragers have been exploring, there's a good chance you'll find the lost crates on day 9-10. Steal that junk and run back home - don't even go to the cargo convoy. Winterhome is doomed anyway and we need those supplies.
- 05:00 - Order 5 engineers and 10 workers. Build another workshop for when the engineers arrive (And don't forget to build more housing).
- 06:00 - Sign "Bare-knuckle bouts" to reduce discontent.
- 10:00 - When the generator gets to 70%, you will have your first safety crisis. You must be at "Unhealthy" or "Safe" when this occurs. Keep an eye on the generator progress and safety level. If you're not safe enough, stop construction, make more structural profiles so you can activate the protective structures (or wait for the gas concentration to fall). As long as the safety level is "Unhealthy," you'll be able to rescue the trapped workers.
In my case, I had to pause construction on Day 11 and then resume on Day 12.
After the safety crisis, the construction site will go on strike. Promising either "Hearty Meals" or "Bathhouse" is reasonable - because nobody says you have to keep the bathhouse running or actually produce hearty meals.
In any case, once you resolve the strike, you get to choose whether to rely on the workers or the engineers. This guide is based on siding with the engineers. Build the factory inspectorate and staff it at least partway.
Once the shaft structure is complete, make sure to turn off your ventilation plant - don't waste the coal if you don't need it! Get to work producing more structural profiles for the next stage. If you found the lost crates, you already have enough steam exchangers to make the tower pumps (but you'll still need to research and build the machine shop in order to progress to the next stage).
Days 13-20 (Generator Phase 2)
I'm going to get more general in my guide from here on out. Make sure you're prioritizing the generator in terms of your workers, and order more workers regularly - I usually order 10 more after each ship comes during this part of the game, along with engineers and prostheses as needed. Your food and steel supplies should be in good shape. As sawmills run out of trees in range, dismantle them and move the workers to a new sawmill.
Events are listed under the days where they occurred in my playthrough, but you may encounter them on a different day.
Once the first phase is done, you'll get a message about another generator site. If you've researched more foragers, send a team towards that generator site (the first location is Nature's Sculpture). This will give you construction materials and extra engineers.
The factory inspectorate will suggest you pass "Overseers," so go ahead and agree to that. Build one tower at the outer edge of the construction zone next to the stockpile, and one in the inner circle at 6 o'clock. Staff each with 2-3 engineers.
Note: the inspection action causes a huge motivation boost, but it also raises strike risk. If you have workplaces that are likely to strike, don't make it worse by having your engineer bureaucrats pestering your workers. Use it sparingly.)
When prompted to end prostitution, choose "We can't afford it."
If someone gets a letter about the Boer war, censor it.
When you get the prompt "Rumble in the Deep," (10% production on the Tower Pumps) choose to produce safety equipment. You should already have the steam exchangers on hand from your foragers. We're going to have another safety crisis soon.
If you haven't already, now is a good time to research the upgraded docks. This will allow your people to stack up to 600 resources at each dock - reserves that you'll need later in the game.
When the Tower Pumps get to 45% complete, there will be an emergency. If your safety level is "Harmful," you can save the workers without compromising the generator, but a lot of people will get hurt. If the site is "Safe," you can save the workers with fewer injuries, which is definitely preferable. Keep an eye on the progress and use protective structures if you need to boost the safety.
An engineer gets a shipment of food. I let him keep it - my food rations were at the storage limit anyway.
If you start having amputees, either from the Tower Pumps accident or as a side-effect of the prostitution (people's limbs are just straight falling off due to rampant STIs, I guess), sign "Prostheses Shipments" and order some prostheses.
I finished this generator stage on the morning of day 20. Reassign your workers to produce structural profiles and steel composites (needed for the next phase). Send a forager team in the direction of the new generator site.
Days 21-34 (Generator Phase 3)
This phase gave me the most trouble in trying to finish the scenario. Between safety issues, striking workers, and falling motivation, I kept missing the deadline to finish phase 3, and at that point, it's impossible to get back on track to finish in time.
That being said, we're 5 days ahead of schedule going in to Phase 3, and your production line should be in pretty good shape at this point.
Let's start by talking resources. At the start of Phase 3, I had 2 fishing harbours (with the finer mesh upgrade) taking care of my food needs. I had 2 upgraded docks, both delivering steel. Each dock had 2 fully-staffed gathering posts collecting from the steel piles. I had 2 gathering posts on the huge coal pile, and 3 sawmills gathering wood.
Looking at the docks, your dock workers are delivering steel faster than the gathering posts can collect it. With upgraded docks, you can have up to 600 resources, so just let it keep piling up. At this point, however, I recommend unstaffing and turning off one of the two docks.
Why turn off the dock? Because we're rapidly clear-cutting our nice little generator site, and we're going to need more wood. If you change the resource on the dock, whatever is already piled up will vanish. So turn off the dock, but leave the gathering posts going to collect the steel already there. Once the pile is gone (or nearly gone), switch the resource to wood and turn the dock back on.
When your foragers reach the worker's camp for the other generator site, tell the workers to stay put. We are NOT going to bring these workers to our site - we can get more than enough labor through the telegraph station, and these guys cause more trouble than they're worth. Send your foragers along to the next location on the way to the failed generator site.
Once your foragers have explored all the sites in Frostland, including the ones related to the other generator sites, bring one team home and disband them. The other forager team will start delivering food from the hunting and fishing spots in Frostland. Up to this point, I had only depleted the first hunting grounds location from the very beginning of the scenario; the fishing harbours have been taking care of the food supply.
I suggest building the support frames before you start on the core. As long as you keep the support frame safety at "Unhealthy," you shouldn't have any accidents or issues. Meanwhile, make sure you are producing enough steel composites - you need 25 for the core, another 5 for safety improvements, and then 20 more for the final stage. So you want to have at least 30 ready by the time the support frames are finished.
At the end of day 26, I had just about completed the supports. (One was finished, the other at 97% when work ended.)
Start working on the core. When you get to 10% (Day 28 for me), you'll get an alert about fire danger. Build the fire dampers - you should have the steel composites ready to go.
Try to keep safety at "Harmful" for the core, or you may have additional workplace accidents (besides the scripted event). If you need to pause construction for a bit to let the gas level go down or for the cooldown on protective structures to run out, you can. You've got a bit of wiggle room here, and it's better to pause construction for part of a day than have people striking because it's not safe.
You're going to want to be producing the steam exchangers and steel composites that you'll need for the final stage. I do think it's worth it to get the redesigned templates (reduces the cost of steam exchanges from 20 steel to 16). If possible, aim to have extra steam exchangers. If you have the Advanced Supercharge tech, then 5 steam exchangers = 20% instant progress on the current generator construction, which you're going to need to finish the final parts.
If you do have workers go on strike, consider offering them the bathhouse (you can turn it off if coal gets low) or hearty meals if you didn't already sign those laws. Comfortable quarters is another good one - you'll have to build some extra tents, but you shouldn't be hurting for wood at this point.
Around day 32, I signed "Two Shifts." Don't use it on the actual generator construction (need the safety boost from the short shift). Instead, use it on the gathering posts that are collecting steel, so you don't run into a resource bottleneck trying to produce all those steam exchangers.
At 50% progress on the core, a fire will break out. If you built the fire dampers, you can get people out alive and not lose generator power. However, your progress will be set back. This is a good time to use that advanced supercharge.
Let people talk.
Once the core is complete, you'll get an alert that the toxic danger has passed. You can dismantle your ventilation plant and use the steel.
Days 35-45 (The Home Stretch)
You're almost there! As long as you finished Phase 3 on time and have been working ahead on your construction materials, you can definitely make it across the finish line!
Agree to build the security outposts.
Allow the security outposts to search for arsonists.
When you get the prompt to make one last order, take a look at your population. I found that having ~220 workers and 60 engineers going in to the final stretch worked pretty well. Your mileage may vary. If there's nothing else you need more urgently, just order a bunch of prostheses, since people are going to start losing extremities to frostbite.
Release the arsonists, unless you want to go full penal colony.
If you get asked to heat homes, offer to heat some homes (provided you've already started the heating research tree). You can get a portion of your homes heated with braziers and upgrade the blowers to compensate for the upcoming drop in temperature. Keep in mind that if you don't start providing some heat, people are going to freeze to death in their beds. You can manage this if it happens to 10 or 15 of your workers, but if people start dying off in droves, you won't have enough people to finish the work.
Later on, if you are asked again to heat homes, you literally won't be able to (the temperature gets too low), so don't make promises you can't keep.
Stop people from leaving. I had researched and built an infirmary by this point, so I could deal with the injured.
Once the water freezes, dismantle your harbours and docks. They can't help you anymore.
Let your workers take breaks to stay warm.
From here on out, it's just a matter of keeping an eye on safety levels, strike risk, and keeping your workers alive until the work is done. Build more infirmaries if you need them. Keep homes and workplaces warm as much as you can. Monitor coal use and make additional charcoal kilns as needed. (You can also turn off the braziers during the day and turn them back on at night to conserve coal.)
I finished the generator with a day and a half to spare. Didn't manage to do any of the optional upgrades, but hey, a win is a win.
Generator Construction Math
In other words, "How much steel am I going to need, exactly?"
These numbers don't take into account the construction materials you can find while exploring, so it's more of an upper limit for your resource requirements.
- 8 structural profiles = 200 wood
- 10 structural profiles = 200-250 wood (depending on if/when you get the optimized materials tech)
- 10 steam exchangers = 200 steel
- 50 structural profiles = 1,000 - 1,250 wood
- 25 steel composites = 625 steel and 1,250 coal (without the innovative process tech)
- or 500 steel and 1,000 coal (with the innovative process tech)
- 50 steam exchangers = 800-1,000 steel (depending on if/when you get redesigned templates)
- 20 steel composites = 500 steel and 1,000 coal (without innovative process)
- or 400 steel and 800 coal (with innovative process)
Grand Total (assuming no techs):
- 1,700 wood
- 2,325 steel
- 2,250 coal
Of course, this is just the materials required for the generator construction itself. It doesn't include building the production line, supporting your population, or improving safety.